Jenna Steely is a designer/maker in the Bay Area working toward a more progressive future.


A sketchbook is a lot of things. A place to take notes, to dump ideas, to iterate, to doodle. It's my place for words and pictures.  

Eyeo festival

Why must a creative conference call itself a festival? 

Anyway, this is where I am this week: in Minneapolis, enjoying creative talks and chats, peppering my days with delicious meals and the company of some darling creative weirdo friends.

So far there's only really been one speaker that has been intensely interesting, Nathaniel Raymond spoke from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. He walked us through the power of data in humanitarian response, for both good, and also quite horrible and dark uses.

New car

Thomas and I bought a new (used) car today! Very excited to have a vehicle in our lives. I've never been a car owner before, having always been a city girl, but it definitely will be awesome to increase our ability to get out of town. Also planning ahead to take it to the burn and ultimately drive it across the country when we're ready to leave SF eventually. 

It's a 2006 Subaru Outback--a car that I am very familiar with and grew up driving various versions of. I love them because they are safe, reliable cars, and hey're somewhat rugged, with AWD that helps in places like Tahoe. And you can pack 'em full of stuff for excursions and trips. I was a little hesitant getting such a long car for street parking, but I just couldn't bring myself to commit to a small car in the long run. 

Excited to get out of the city soon! Hiking this weekend perhaps? 

Yarn is cool

I've been expanding from my pom pom obsession into broader yarn arts. Knitting/crocheting is cool and all, but those have never really interested me that much—perhaps because its (usually) a fairly structured process and result. I've been grooving on ways of using yarn in asymmetrical, unexpected, and random ways—like abstract art, but with a squishy textile medium. I want to make a jacket that expands on this idea.

Here's some inspiration: 

Pom poms I

I've started a new idle hobby—making pom poms. They are pretty easy to make, and a bit mindless, so sometimes I'll sit on the floor when we watch a netflix show and crank through a few pom poms. 

I bought a pack of 4 sizes of pom pom makers, and 5 different colors of yarn. It's been fun to mix and match colors and decide where to mix colors. Also seeing how the pom ends up depending on where I started wrapping yarn or how thick I wrap it before cutting and tying it off. 

One of the funnest parts is shaping the pom. I have a large bowl I use to catch the fuzzies as I shape the orbs. When you cut all the threads, they aren't all the same length (the interior yarn is shorter than the exterior pieces) so they need to be trimmed up. I'm getting better at eyeballing these for "evenness" but at first it was difficult to eyeball the shape of a sphere!

Pics to come. 


Not to beat a dead horse, but I'm pretty pleased with these layouts and wanted to capture them somewhere. So here they are.

Right now, I'm asking myself whether its okay (or is it too lame or unprofessional?) to put my own wedding website in my portfolio. i'm so pleased with it that I very much want to, and I do keep a number of personal projects there, which I feel express my personal style and creativity. But is it too narcissistic? Objectively, I feel it is a great example of story telling and art direction. But there's something kind of uncomfortable in celebrating something so personal, so publicly. 

Anyone have thoughts on this? 

Our wedding website is way cooler than most other wedding websites, and I actually mean it

It's up! Check it out at The final photos turned out spectacular. I'm forever grateful to Ross for helping me realize my vision.

Here's the save-the-date: 


And the final finished photos: 

Jenna Comment
Road trip wrap up

Just got back from our road trip today. We were gone just a week and 2 days, but it feels like a month. We packed so much into our journey, driving over 2,000 miles in 7 days. 

Our Itinerary: 

  Approximation of route (Google won't let me fine tune it or add any more stops)

Approximation of route (Google won't let me fine tune it or add any more stops)

Days -1, 0: Logan, UT for a wedding
Day 1: Logan --> Salt Lake City --> Goblin Valley State Park
Day 2: Capitol Reef (2 mile hike) --> Bryce Canyon ( 4.3 mile hike) --> Zion
Day 3: Zion (8 mile Observation Point hike)
Day 4: Zion (hiked the Narrows) --> Grand Canyon by way of the Vermillion Cliffs --> Page, AZ
Day 5: Waterholes Canyon (3 miles hike) --> Monument Valley --> Santa Fe, NM
Day 6: Meow Wolf, thrift shopping, saw Annihilation (that's a whole other thing, phew!) --> Albuquerque
Day 7: White Sands National Monument --> Albuquerque
Day 8: Fly home! (that was today)

For my first time experiencing the southwest, I must say, my mind was blown. This is some of the most stunning land I have ever seen. Somehow each destination was completely different from the last, a new take on canyons or hoodoos or some other erosion-based earth formation—buy day 4 my brain was turning to mush trying to comprehend the time periods and processes that got us from ocean-covered North America to the present highly dramatic formations. 

I was blown away by the varieties of colors of the earth: reds, pinks, oranges, ochres, whites and browns, offset by the strange plant life that thrives in desert climates: olives and icy greens and purples. And the textures: blobby, glorpy "goblins," jagged hoodoos, intense cliffs, arches, sheer vertical drops, juxtaposed with rounded, smoothed sandstone, loose sand dunes, crumbling buttes and mesas and spires. 

Most of these destinations I feel we got to spend enough time hiking or exploring that I got most of what I wanted out of the stop. The exception is this: since we only did a mere drive-by of the Grand Canyon, the most insane of all of them, I feel like although I technically "saw" it, I didn't get to truly experience it, and thus have some serious unfinished business there. Perhaps a rafting trip or other backcountry adventure? I could spend weeks there, it's so vast. 

I'm grateful for the incredible earth I've witnessed, and for my partner in crime for taking this awesome adventure with me. Hoping to see more of it soon!

Creepy kids in creepy ads

Found a great post from Wait But Why on creepy kids in creepy vintage ads. Here's some favorites.